Journal of Intercultural Communication, issue 15, November 2007

Yukiko Inoue,

Cultural Fluency as a Guide to Effective Intercultural Communication: The Case of Japan and the U.S.


Intercultural communication serves a vital role in that it can forestall miscommunication and misunderstanding. Because of increased intercultural contact and interdependence, people in the world are forced to "rethink" intercultural communication in order to acquire effective intercultural communication competence. The present paper provides a critical discussion of the conceptualization of intercultural communication and the commonly acknowledged challenge of intercultural communication. With a focus on Japan and the U.S. (since both countries have remarkably different forms of communication in terms of nonverbal communication particularly), the paper defines culture and explores the following: (1) origin of intercultural communication research; (2) cultural fluency and willingness to communicate; and (3) words versus haragei (a Japanese concept), touching upon intercultural (business) communication.

Keywords: intercultural communication, cultural fluency, cultural communication, Japanese forms of communication, nonverbal communication

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